hands-on

Classroom activities on the atmosphere

November 23, 2010

Teaching about the atmosphere?  Here are a few ideas for the classroom. Activities about the atmosphere are particularly well suited for talking about air pressure, since air pressure is essentially the weight of the atmosphere pushing down on us.  At the Exploratorium we had a couple of really great activities to get at this idea. […]

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Hands-on class activities on the cell

January 12, 2010

Looking for some activities to jazz up your class lecture on the cell and biology?  Here are a few hands-on teaching activities for middle school or high school: Here are some cool cells to look at under a microscope: Cheek cells Onion cells Thin smears of ripe versus green banana, stained lightly with iodine.  Says […]

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Make a yummy fish mummy

October 30, 2009

Ok, it probably wouldn’t be very yummy, but here’s another hands-on activity you can use that’s rather Halloween-like.  Called “Make a ‘mummy’”, this Exploratorium activity is a great way to demonstrate how mummification works, by drying out the tissue in a fish using baking soda.  Egyptians used a specific type of salt to do this, […]

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Hands on Science Sunday: Ticker-tape timer for measuring motion

June 21, 2009

A pretty standard lab for introductory physics is to chart what constant speed (or constant acceleration) looks like, and graph it versus time.  There are all different ways to do this, but one is to use a ticker-tape timer, which I think is wonderfully cool.  The idea is to attach a piece of ticker tape […]

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Hands on Science Sunday: Feeling pressured?

May 31, 2009

Here’s today’s science classroom activity.  We’re surrounded by the crushing weight of layers of atmosphere above us, but we don’t feel it.  Why?  Our perception is tuned to differences, not absolutes.  If we were in a completely pink world, we would notice anything that wasn’t pink, but (I’m pretty sure) after a few minutes, we […]

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Physics Toys Tuesday: Colored shadows

May 27, 2009

I’m not actually committing to posting a physics toy every Tuesday, but I’ll start small. One of my favorite places to watch people back at the Exploratorium was the colored shadows exhibit.  This one’s always a winner. Images from http://www.flickr.com/photos/soyunterrorista This is an example of color addition.  Remember this from grade school? I only remember […]

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Hands-on Science Sunday: Atmosphere model

May 17, 2009

I’m going to try posting a regular feature here on sciencegeekgirl — Hands-on Science Sunday.  I figure, if I were a teacher, Sunday might be the day I’d appreciate getting an idea of a science classroom activity.  So, here you go.   Why do it? This is a good activity to help your students visualize […]

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Books of classroom demonstrations (A Demo a Day)

February 23, 2009

Here is a very nice review (from a teacher’s listserv I’m on) about what sounds like a great book for the chemistry teacher: A good book about Chemistry for the middle school and high school:  “A Demo a Day, A Year of Chemical Demonstrations”, by Gross, Bilash and Koob.  It has “Separating Metallic Iron from […]

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Make your own phonograph (Repost)

December 6, 2008

I’ve got so many different posts that I want to write… scribbled notes on different science myths and beautiful everyday things, but I have been so very busy. I’m sorry. I will get back to writing detailed posts in a few weeks! In the meantime, I’d like to recycle a good old post on making […]

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The Last Straw (teaching science with soda straws!)

December 1, 2008

Despite my better judgment, I invite TI staff educator Eric Muller to do one more set of activities on my Teaching Tips podcast —several things you can do with soda straws.  Listen to the episode – The Last Straw. Holding Charge activity (PDF) More of Eric Muller’s activities

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Whack a Stack

October 3, 2008

Needing to teach Newton’s Laws?  Don Rathjen, staff educator at the Exploratorium, has been teaching mechanics to students for over 20 years.  This one’s an old favorite — a noisy activity with wood flying everywhere.  You can listen to Don demonstrate how to teach the activity (and geekgirl has some fun with it too) on […]

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Seeing motion with light

September 29, 2008

A fabulous science activity from Sebastien Martin over at the Exploratorium, via teacher Bree Barnett — visualizing kinetics with LED lights. See detailed instructions and more pictures over at that blog post.

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Air has mass (and how to prove it!)

August 26, 2008

A teacher asked for a good experiment to show 8th graders that gas has mass.  “We have used balloons in the past,” she says, “but some of the kids still don’t make the connection.” Paul Doherty replied: I like to get a big weather balloon from a surplus store , inflate it until it is […]

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Make a stripped-down motor

August 22, 2008

I posted a new podcast – “Ooh you make my motor run” on my Science Teaching Tips podcast.  One of the Exploratorium staff educators, Modesto Tamez, tells how he gets students exploring electromagnets, a great preparation for making an electric motor. Here’s the Stripped Down Motor activity: www.exploratorium.edu/snacks/stripped_down_motor.html

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Make your own phonograph (podcast)

August 15, 2008

TI staff educator Eric Muller explains how to make your own record player! See my previous longer post about this activity, too. Groovy Sounds activity (PDF) More of Eric Muller’s activities

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Physics in the virtual world

July 22, 2008

[[AAPT Session: Study of Computer Simulations — Interface design for engagement, learning and assessment, Wendy Adams]] You know, when I first arrived at the University of Colorado, everyone was talking about these PhET Simulations that showed virtual versions of real physics phenomena, and I was really skeptical. Why simulate physics when you can go out […]

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The PIE idea library

July 6, 2008

I just realized that the PIE institute has a wonderful website! PIE is “Playful Invention and Exploration” – or integrating engineering with artistic expression. Their web page is a treasure chest for any maker… let me tell you (especially those of you who like to hack and Make and all that), it’s a delightful creative […]

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The antislit

July 3, 2008

Sorry for the long delay in posting (not that it matters — I see my stats — most of you are off reading my old posts about how water goes around drains or whether polar bear fur is fiber optic). I’ve been on vacation back in my old haunts in the SF Bay Area, and […]

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Fun and free science!

June 19, 2008

Here’s a totally cool output from my old “alma mater”: the Exploratorium Digital Library Afterschool Project. This website has fantastically simple videos on how to do a selection of cool activities that the creative folks at the Exploratorium have come up with over the years. The point of this particular website is to promote activities […]

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Scaling up Barbie!

May 16, 2008

I’ve posted a new episode of my Science Teaching Tips podcast featuring one of our all-time favorite activities at the Exploratorium. Our math enthusiast Lori Lambertson helps us answer the question — what would Barbie look like if she were my height? Some of the answers may surprise you! Click this link to check it […]

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